RIDGWAY — In a tragic accident, Hailey Mae Matheson, daughter of Christopher and Ali Freeburg Matheson, lost her life on May 8, 2020. Hailey was a second grader at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School. She was a Girl Scout who also liked to go horseback riding. She loved to sing, dance and read. In her short life, Hailey has touched so many people with her smile, kindness and acceptance of everyone. She always let every child in school play and participate in whatever she did. Hailey was also a fantastic reader and looked up to her sisters Kira and Mia and wanted to read and do as well in school as they both did. Hailey, even in death, gave herself to help others by donating her organs to save other people’s lives.
Hailey’s classmates never got to say goodbye to her and continue to talk about her among themselves and with teachers. Her school family wants to remember and give students a way to show their love for Hailey and leave a legacy of her at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School.
A fund called “Hailey’s Reading Program” is now set up at the Northwest Savings Bank in Ridgway to raise money to buy a book vending machine that accepts gold tokens. Students will earn gold tokens for being a true Elker, which is how Hailey lived her short life. Her classmates will design bookmarks and have a day in the fall of 2022 where they allow the entire school community to make a small donation in memory of Hailey.
An outdoor bench will also be installed called Hailey’s Buddy Bench. The idea of the bench is that any student who needs a playmate can sit on the bench, and then the other students will know they need a friend and ask them to play.
Please consider sending or donating to the Northwest Saving Bank to make the Hailey Memorial Book Vending Machine and Bench of Friends. The goal for this project is $15,000.00 which would pay for both projects and provide money for books to support Hailey’s reading program. Please make checks payable to Hailey’s Reading Program. The address to send donations to is:
Ridgway, PA 15853